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Genesis: truth and metaphor


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#61 D.A. Hill

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:54 AM

Sorry, as a trained geologist, I can assure you that is NOT a good article on the geological column. Furthermore, all the antievolution 'zingers' you mentioned are seriously flawed. That's the sort of misinformation I was saddened to see in the second half of Fr. Rose's book.

#62 Antonios

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 01:45 AM

Zeeker and all,

I found this article and found it extremely interesting. I wonder what thoughts others may have on it...

(it's under the section "The Six Dawns")

http://www.zephyr.gr...hn/frread-a.htm

#63 Scott Pierson

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 09:50 PM

If one believes that God guided the evolutionary process to bring about the diversity of life now in existence they in fact believe in a form of intelligent design. I think a lot of people miss that point. I've heard radio programs in which people call in and attack Intelligent Design as silly and unscientific and then go on to explain how God guided and used the evolutionary process to bring things about.. doh! Way to attack your own position.

The majority of theists are intelligent design adherents even the ones who believe in some form of evolution. Only the deist types would be able to honestly adhere to strict Darwinism (unguided mutation + natural selection as means of evolution (ie no divine design or guidance ) ). Many people adhere to theistic evolution so that they don’t look like "flat earther types" but they don’t understand that strict Darwinists think they are just as whackey because they embrace intelligent design.

Personally I would be happy to embrace any scientific theory that proved probable AND was able to mesh with the prophetic truth of the book of Genesis and the fathers (without using mental gymnastics to make them say things they are obviously not ). the Darwinian model is ruled out. The common creation model put out by the majority of creation scientists may not be perfect but at least its compatible w/ the bible and such. If certain "creation" arguments are proved wrong then I will drop then but I wouldn’t drop the idea of special creation, that death didn’t exist before the fall or other important theological truths just to make my views mesh with the latest scientific theory. The truth of our origens have already been revealed to the God illumined prophets and saints and it doesnt change.. we dont need to wait for science to tell us how we got here or what animal we supposedly came from we have already been given that truth by an authority that is much more trustworthy then the evidence gained through obersvation and the use of rationality. If my own observation and research proved (according to scientific requirments for "proof" ) that something was false and God told me it was true.. I would trust God more then my own eyes and the "facts".

#64 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 03:00 PM

Scott Pierson wrote

If one believes that God guided the evolutionary process to bring about the diversity of life now in existence they in fact believe in a form of intelligent design. I think a lot of people miss that point. I've heard radio programs in which people call in and attack Intelligent Design as silly and unscientific and then go on to explain how God guided and used the evolutionary process to bring things about.. doh! Way to attack your own position.

The majority of theists are intelligent design adherents even the ones who believe in some form of evolution. Only the deist types would be able to honestly adhere to strict Darwinism (unguided mutation + natural selection as means of evolution (ie no divine design or guidance ) ). Many people adhere to theistic evolution so that they don’t look like "flat earther types" but they don’t understand that strict Darwinists think they are just as whackey because they embrace intelligent design.


Good insight. I hadn't thought about that.

Without rambling on forever about things I know little about: it seems one of the most fundamental logical flaws of the evolution theory is basically that it rests on the idea of open-ended nature but which is driven by a distinct purpose.

That is- environment can play such a great role because nature has no absolute definition. But then there is always the assumed idea that nature will develop in a certain direction, regardless of environment; ie survival- ie life.

Put it the other way around. Starting with the idea of environment as the ultimate determinant then there actually is no logical reason why everything shouldn't have evolved to its own extinction. After all this is a far better solution to the trial of life than existence is. Why would the little molecules be driven to survive & to live, rather than to die?

Also why would man or intelligence be considered the peak of creation rather than a rock or a speck of dust for that matter. What does directional development have to do, really, with evolution except as an unexamined assumption?

As soon as you put it this way you come back to the question of a purposeful universe and then a universe which implies a moral order; ie there really is good and bad. And by implication the universe follows what is good for it. Or you're forced to reject this idea of real purpose. Then again we're back to a speck of dust being just as evolved as man. But then this raises the crucial question - why doesn't man evolve into dust? (Well in a way he does already I guess!)

Evolutionists however due to their own philosophical origin at some point need to deny a moral order unless they no longer are talking about evolution anymore.

I don't think we can credibly deny that nature adapts to its environment. But this degree of adaptation isn't open-ended. Instead the degree and type of adaptation possible is defined by its nature.

Also nature is specific and common in a sense since we have specific species and individuals- but all are alive (man, animals) or existent (rocks, etc). All of this is defined by the particular nature of each thing.

This was well recognized and referred to by the Holy Frs. In a real way we can say that nature is given added definition by the Frs in how they recognize its divine purpose in Christ; ie Christ is the sum & recapitulation of all things and all things find their ultimate purpose in Him.

Whatever we call it- adaptation or evolution- has to keep itself anchored in this understanding to be true. Definition of nature is anchored in an understanding of its moral purpose. Without this it couldn't evolve at all- it could only scatter into non-existence.

Put it this way- If we've evolved from goop, ground mice, (ABC's End of the World documentary made this claim a few nights ago) & monkeys, then it needs to be shown not only how this is credible science from hard evidence. It also needs to be shown what purpose there is in any of this. Basically it has to stop claiming purpose when its whole philosophical baggage is underpinned by the idea that ultimately there is no purpose. You can't have it both ways and claim this is science.

Basically science needs to come to grips in a mature way with the question of why life and not death? Why should nature be driven one way instead of the other? Trying to answer this in a purely materialistic way is logically inconsistent with the idea of any purpose at all. Its only honest answer can be that the purpose of life is that life has no purpose and so is irrelevant. So it would make more sense just to get to the point and cease existing, ie die. If those who held to evolution were consistent they would recognize this and begin proclaiming that the actual end point of evolution is annihilation.

Will man unexpectedly begin evolving back into monkeys, ground mice or goop one day for his betterment?

Some say it's beginning to happen already.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#65 D.A. Hill

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:03 PM

If one believes that God guided the evolutionary process to bring about the diversity of life now in existence they in fact believe in a form of intelligent design. I think a lot of people miss that point. I've heard radio programs in which people call in and attack Intelligent Design as silly and unscientific and then go on to explain how God guided and used the evolutionary process to bring things about.. doh! Way to attack your own position.

The majority of theists are intelligent design adherents even the ones who believe in some form of evolution. Only the deist types would be able to honestly adhere to strict Darwinism (unguided mutation + natural selection as means of evolution (ie no divine design or guidance ) ). Many people adhere to theistic evolution so that they don’t look like "flat earther types" but they don’t understand that strict Darwinists think they are just as whackey because they embrace intelligent design.


The difference is, ID proponents claim that ID is scientifically provable, but all they do is use antievolutionary arguments and never make positive predictable assertions for their case. So a 'thiestic evolutionist' may be an Intelligent Design proponent in the philosophical/theological sense, but not necessarily in the scientific sense.

Personally I would be happy to embrace any scientific theory that proved probable AND was able to mesh with the prophetic truth of the book of Genesis and the fathers (without using mental gymnastics to make them say things they are obviously not ). the Darwinian model is ruled out. The common creation model put out by the majority of creation scientists may not be perfect but at least its compatible w/ the bible and such. If certain "creation" arguments are proved wrong then I will drop then but I wouldn’t drop the idea of special creation, that death didn’t exist before the fall or other important theological truths just to make my views mesh with the latest scientific theory. The truth of our origens have already been revealed to the God illumined prophets and saints and it doesnt change.. we dont need to wait for science to tell us how we got here or what animal we supposedly came from we have already been given that truth by an authority that is much more trustworthy then the evidence gained through obersvation and the use of rationality. If my own observation and research proved (according to scientific requirments for "proof" ) that something was false and God told me it was true.. I would trust God more then my own eyes and the "facts".



All creation 'science' arguments are scientifcally invalid when judged by scientific methodology. This doesn't mean they are wrong, as reality may be biblically based as you say it is. I would be more interested in understanding why you as an Orthodox Christian even care about the creation 'science' put out by these protestant fundamentalist apologists which is based in very unOrthodox theology?

#66 D.A. Hill

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:04 PM

Antonios, that link is very interesting, I'll definitely look more into next week.

#67 Antonios

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:35 PM

Zeeker,

Please do. I would love to have a geologist's view on this article. Thanks!

#68 Scott Pierson

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 01:38 AM

would be more interested in understanding why you as an Orthodox Christian even care about the creation 'science' put out by these protestant fundamentalist apologists which is based in very unOrthodox theology?


Because..not everyone thinks the same way I do. Many people have lost faith in the Bible because of the theory of evolution… They say “You cant trust the book of Genesis why trust any other part of it.”. People have been indoctrinated to trust that the “scientific method” is the best and really only way to determine truth , and that the “truths” expressed by the scientific community are beyond reproach. Because of that scientific arguments against evolution are a useful weapon to use against Darwinism which is a major component of the religion of humanism/post humanism/Trans humanism (and as many believe, the religion of antichrist)***. Eventually one would need to deprogram people from the whole sickness of scientism and materialism all together but if you can at least get a crack in the armor by destroying the credibility of evolution then you have at least made a good start. If the current scientific means of disproving evolution and lending scientific credibility to the Biblical account of creation are inadequate ( personally they don’t appear to be to me but I’m not a scientist) then we need to develop better weapons not give up the fight all together.

By Unorthodox theology do you mean the idea that when for example the Bible says that God created man out of the dust of the ground it might mean man was literally created from the dust of the ground, or when the Bible states that death entered the world after sin that it actually means just that ? I'm sure there are some areas of disagreements between the veiw of Genesis held by protestant creationists and the Patristic view... I dont however think there is any problem with understanding certain parts of Genesis to mean literally what they say (if you understand that they ALSO have allegorical meanings, etc ).. in other words if you dont limit it to ONLY the literal. Christ walking on water for example can be understood to have an allegorical meaning but that doesnt mean that Christ didnt also literaly walk on water. I'm not saying that every verse of the Bible can be understood literaly but I dont see any use in allegorizing the whole book just to fit ones preconcieved "scientific" views.

***Here is a link to an interesting video on Trans humanism and the mark of the beast and such. Its starts a little slow but gets more interesting in the end. Its set to trendy techno music but what can you do ?
http://video.google....227220487922409

#69 Scott Pierson

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 01:47 AM

Basically science needs to come to grips in a mature way with the question of why life and not death? Why should nature be driven one way instead of the other? Trying to answer this in a purely materialistic way is logically inconsistent with the idea of any purpose at all. Its only honest answer can be that the purpose of life is that life has no purpose and so is irrelevant. So it would make more sense just to get to the point and cease existing, ie die. If those who held to evolution were consistent they would recognize this and begin proclaiming that the actual end point of evolution is annihilation


Father Bless,

Thats a really good point. Is it possible that many scientists are afraid to look into that because it would take them outside of their own field into the domain of religion and philosophy?

#70 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 02:40 PM

Father Bless,

Thats a really good point. Is it possible that many scientists are afraid to look into that because it would take them outside of their own field into the domain of religion and philosophy?



I don't know. I'm a real half with when it comes to science. Although I love to watch the science documentaries. And we have a relly great radio science show every Saturday at noon on our national CBC network called Quirks & Quarks which is neat to listen to.

Again from my very limited perspective I think there's an awful lot in science that is very knowledgable and respectable. It not only increases knowledge but also allows for a deper understanding of the wonder of God's creation. Somehow this can also increase our respect for God's creation. So I'm certainly not arguing against science.

I'm not sure if I would put it that science is afraid to look outside their own field because that would bring them into the domain of religion or philosophy. I think it's more that modern science is afraid to look at the actual basis of creation which stares them right in the face. This limits their understanding and explanations and even comes off a being a bit crude. It's like the person who investigates art and makes a life out of explaining it- but won't ever refer to beauty and the higher things which motivate it. You can talk about the paint and material the paint is on forever. But still there's always something being missed and something that most important that's not being referred to at all.

I guess it's this last thing which I think limits modern science. Being self-imposed materialists for the most part (a lot of creationists are also materialists of another type) they end up restricting what they investigate and try to explain.

For example whenever you listen to astronomists and explanations of the cosmos, big bangs, black holes, etc it's amazing that infinity- the thing which should be most obvious even to a materialist- is almost never really taken into account. It's the elephant sitting in the room but there seems to be a fear of even talking about it.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#71 Ryan

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 02:09 PM

This might be a crazy idea, but I wonder if the Fall of Man could have not only introduced death into the world from that point on, but imprinted death and entropy into the world's natural history, corrupting the world throughout time, so that animals died since the beginning of the world. Hence the fossil record, a record of of deaths and extinctions before mankind, and the existence of carnivorism. Is this just too fantastic? It seems to me though that it is better to interpret scientific evidence (without distorting it) in the light of faith than vice-versa.

#72 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 03:11 PM

This might be a crazy idea, but I wonder if the Fall of Man could have not only introduced death into the world from that point on, but imprinted death and entropy into the world's natural history, corrupting the world throughout time, so that animals died since the beginning of the world. Hence the fossil record, a record of of deaths and extinctions before mankind, and the existence of carnivorism. Is this just too fantastic? It seems to me though that it is better to interpret scientific evidence (without distorting it) in the light of faith than vice-versa.



Yes it absolutely is a basic teaching of the Church as found in the Holy Frs that due to man's sin death came to himself and all of the creation (ie animals, etc) as well.

However we interpret the Fall in terms of when it took place historically, from that point on death affected the whole universe.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#73 Ryan

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 04:19 PM

Thank you Father.

Would you say then that my interpretation is definitively ruled out?

#74 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 04:42 PM

Ryan wrote

Would you say then that my interpretation is definitively ruled out?


Oh I think I see what you're asking now. I misunderstood and so didn't understand the point of your sentence:

Hence the fossil record, a record of of deaths and extinctions before mankind, and the existence of carnivorism.


I don't see how it could be correct to maintain that death came to creation before man was created. An essential point about salvation is that man's fall caused creation's fall into death. An obvious weakness or at least question then raised by evolution in its present form is putting death before man's appearance and thus from our perspective before man's fall. Maybe there's some other way to account for this reversal of chronological time that someone else could explain but I don't see what it could be.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#75 Ryan

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 05:02 PM

Let me attempt to clarify my interpretation: the Fall of Man occurred historically, and before it there was no death in creation. However, after the Fall, the effects of death resonated throughout time and corrupted the world's natural history, as if death had always been there. The creation departed from God's providence of immortality and shifted onto a trajectory of entropy that now extended from its past. Thereby accounting for the fossil record and the apparent existence of death and carnivorous animals before man's existence.

Does this make any sense? I'm not proposing this as a doctrine, simply as one possible way of interpretating contemporary science in the light of Christian tradition.

#76 Brian B.

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 05:10 PM

Dear All,

I've enjoyed the comments and viewpoints expressed on this thread very much - thank you all. Recently I discovered the orthowiki covering various interpretations of Genesis and the relationship between Orthodoxy and science. I highly recommend reading all the linked articles of both compatibilists and incompatibilists to get a fuller perspective on the diversity of views held within present-day Orthodxy.

http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Evolution

Sincerely In Christ,

Brian

#77 Scott Pierson

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 09:56 PM

Evolution is the popular name for a set of scientific theories which aim to explain the apparent similarity of different species and the appearance of complex species later in the fossil record. In short, evolution means that all life on earth shares a common ancestry which can traced back to a single species. Orthodox Christians have divergent views on how to react to this development in science.

In general Orthodox responses can be grouped into two large categories, which we might label Compatibilism and Incompatibilism.

Compatibilists hold that science and theology are compatible and view them as complementary revelations of God. As God is the source of both his specific revelation of himself in the Christian faith and the source of the general revelation of himself in nature, the findings of science and theology cannot really contradict; the contradictions must be merely apparent and a resolution possible which is faithful to the truth of God's revelation.

Incompatibilists hold that science can be incompatible with faith. They usually argue either that science is philosophically based on a kind of naturalism or that God's specific revelation is infallible and therefore trumps the findings of human reason in the case of any conflict between them. This is often based on a suspicion of human reason to arrive at reliable conclusions in the first place.

# Priest-monk Seraphim (Rose), Genesis, Creation, and Early Man — Contains a detailed examination of Patristic teaching related to the discussion of evolution and argues along the lines of modern creation science. Incompatibilist


This gives the impression that one either supports Darwinism or they reject science as incompatible with the Churches teachings. Many people consider Darwinism to be bad science. Father Seraphim Rose considered the THEORY of darwinistic evolution to be scientifically and spiritually false. that doesn’t imply that he considers TRUE science to be incompatible with the Churches teachings. I think the authors bias is showing through here.

If the author had replaced the word "science" highlighted above with "Darwinistic evolution" then it would have been more fair imo. He goes from discussing a specific theory to discussing the general legitimacy of science and that implies that Darwinism is a scientific fact which its not.

#78 D.A. Hill

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:11 PM

Father Seraphim Rose considered the THEORY of darwinistic evolution to be scientifically and spiritually false

Saying and emphasizing THEORY means nothing, as THEORY means more in scientific terminology than in the layman's term. Gravitity is afterall, just a THEORY. Furthermore, Fr. Rose was incapable of determining the scientific validity of anything as he was trained in ancient chinese philosophy then later patristic theology, not science. And I don't understand how he could determine that evolution is spiritually false when it is completely neutral on all things divine, it's just as spiritually false as electromagnetic THEORY. Finally, there is no such thing as DarwinISM, except in the minds of fundamentalist protestant apologists with a sociopolitical axe to grind. Evolution is just as much science as gravity, physics, chemistry, geology, etc.

#79 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:34 PM

Let me attempt to clarify my interpretation: the Fall of Man occurred historically, and before it there was no death in creation. However, after the Fall, the effects of death resonated throughout time and corrupted the world's natural history, as if death had always been there. The creation departed from God's providence of immortality and shifted onto a trajectory of entropy that now extended from its past. Thereby accounting for the fossil record and the apparent existence of death and carnivorous animals before man's existence.

Does this make any sense? I'm not proposing this as a doctrine, simply as one possible way of interpretating contemporary science in the light of Christian tradition.



Actually I've wondered about something similar to this- ie does our prayer affect the past since it enters the realm of the eternal? Fact is though I don't know.

But asking such questions and waiting to hear how others respond I think is one of the best things about Monachos.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#80 Scott Pierson

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:37 PM

D. A Hill


Granting everything you said is true it still doesn’t void my point The fact that one disagrees with a certain theory does not imply that they are "anti science" just that they are "anti that one specific theory". Father Seraphim (right or wrong) considered Darwinistic evolution to be unscientific. He does not say that REAL science is incompatible with the Churches teachings . He only considerd a specific theory which he considered to be bad science as contridicting Church teaching. Even if he is wrong what I said still stands… and you would expect an encyclopedia to be as unbiased as possible and not take as an assumption that Father Seraphim was wrong and therefore held that science wasn’t compatible with the Churches teachings

Father Seraphim Rose did study science in college it just wasn’t his major. He also studied this specific issue in detail on his own. The fact that one does not have a degree in a subject doesn’t imply that one has no knowledge of it. Father S.R. was a very bright person and he researched the issue. The fact that he was not a scientist doesn’t disqualify what he said and there are many scientists from prestigious schools with lots degrees and such who would agree with him.




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